Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday took to Twitter to pay “homage to the great educationist, social reformer, and the creator of Barnaparichay, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, on his birth anniversary”, while Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, in a statement, urged all to “rededicate ourselves to the lofty ideals of this giant of an Indian”.
The state government has already marked this as Vidyasagar week to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of the Bengali social reformer.
“To commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of this great polymath, #Bengal Govt is observing “Vidyasagar Week”. Essay competition, cultural functions, exhibition and seminars on Vidyasagar have been organised in schools. Jai Hind. Joy Bangla,” she tweeted. “From education of women to institutionalising widow remarriage? he has left an indelible mark in society,” Banerjee said in a tweet.
On Tuesday, Banerjee visited Birsingha, Vidyasagar’s native village in West Midnapore district.
Dhankhar recalled the contributions of “this extra-ordinary scholar in the field of education, social reform and women liberation”. “An undisputed scholar of Hindu Shastra, he advocated the spread of western education in India and was himself instrumental for setting up educational institutions and framing the curricula. It was he, who empathised with the very young Hindu widows suffering from tyrannies of blind custom(s) and convince the (then) British rulers to enact laws for their re-marriage and suffered insult and torture from the then conservatives in his effort to implement the law,” Dhankhar said in a statement.
“Not only did he earn the epithet of Vidyasagar, the ocean of learning, he was also called Karunasagar, the ocean of mercy. His acts of selfless charity is legendary… paved the way for India’s freedom struggle and social reform. On this day we rededicate ourselves to the lofty ideals of this giant of an Indian,” he added.
Meanwhile, state education minister Partha Chatterjee Thursday paid floral tributes to the statue of Vidyasagar at Vidyasagar College, where his bust was destroyed during a roadshow of BJP president Amit Shah on May 14, ahead of the last phase of the Lok Sabha polls. Both the BJP and Trinamool Congress had blamed each other for the violence, which led to the destruction of Vidyasagar’s bust. Later, the CM had unveiled a new bronze statue of Vidyasagar at Vidyasagar College in June and reinstalled the bust as well.
The BJP also celebrated the birth anniversary of Vidyasagar at state headquarters in Kolkata. Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Culture and Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel, paid floral tributes to a portrait of Vidyasagar in presence of state BJP leaders.